December 17, 2008

Dave's Unspoilt Capsules and Awards

The Week's Picks and Pans, plus Awards of Dubious Merit

Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups.  Recommendation does
not factor in price.  Not all books will have arrived in your area this week.
It's not snow, it's drifting practice.  Rants, Capsules can be found on my 

     Sorry about the delay.  For some incomprehensible reason, most of my
store's shipment (including the box with the invoice) got put on a plane
headed to Italy.  Fortunately, bad weather delayed takeoff long enough for
someone to catch the problem and yank the boxes off, but it delayed delivery
by a day.

"Other Media" Capsules:

     Things that are comics-related but not necessarily comics
(i.e. comics-based movies like Iron Man or Hulk), or that aren't going to be
available via comic shops (like comic pack-ins with DVDs) will go in this
section when I have any to mention.  They may not be as timely as comic
reviews, especially if I decide to review novels that take me a week or two
(or ten) to get around to.

     Nothing this week. 

Comics Capsules:
     Short, relatively spoiler-free reviews of books I actually bring home
(as opposed to reading in preview form in the shop or online).  If I get a
book late due to distributor foulups or whatever, I'll put it in the Missing

     Books of Note (Strongly Recommended or otherwise worthy): Larry Marder's 
Beanworld Holiday Special

     Fallen Angel #32: IDW - A lot of infighting and backbiting all around,
among heroes and villains alike, and only some of them have a plot device
excuse.  A deliberate deflation of expectations happens at the end of the
issue, although the main dramatic moment had nothing to do with the Moloch
plotline anyway.  Mildly recommended.  Oh, and one bare breast, for those
worried about such.  $3.99
     Cthulhu Tales #9: Boom! Studios - Three stories, none of them
particularly strong.  All fairly straight attempts at horror, although with a
wry joke at the center of each.  Mildly recommended.  $3.99
     The Invincible Iron Man #8: Marvel - Fast forward to the aftermath of
Secret Invasion, where we get told all sorts of vital things that happened in
more important comics.  The art slips a bit (although I like the Nixon vibe
that Larroca gave to Osborn), and the story's trying REALLY hard to convince
readers that the whole "Tony Stark is a fascist pig" stuff of the past
several years never happened and he's always been on the side of the angels.
Not really buying it, and not sure I'll be buying this comic much longer
either.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     X-Factor #38: Marvel - A little bit of Stroman art at the beginning,
along with a note on how he got called away to other projects, followed by a
pretty standard "Marvel House Style" set of work from "Nelson".  Just Nelson
in the credits.  Make your own music act joke, I have a cold.  The A plot is
mostly an extended fight scene mixed with realpolitik, while the B plot
contrasts this with at least one character going for the cliche and a bit of
unreal-politik.  Mildly recommended.  $2.99
     Marvel Adventures Avengers #31: Marvel - Cover aside, Thor has but the
barest of cameos.  Nor is there much of a plot beyond "a day at the beach,
plus monsters".  A decent enough light read, but feels a bit like Tobin's
coasting.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Amazing Spider-Man #581: Marvel - Well, we finally get Harry Osborn's
part of the retconned new background as Slott lays it out for us (and for
Peter).  Some of the other fallout from pre-BND stories is also dealt with,
such as "How did Aunt May's house get rebuilt, or are we ignoring FNSM
entirely?"  The usual good art from McKone.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Avengers the Initiative #19: Marvel - Suffers from excessive crowd
sceneage, and even with all the labels it's not always enough.  But the whole
Skrull backup plan plot does get a good wrapping up from Slott and Gage, even
if Tolibao's art goes a bit weird at times.  Recommended.  $2.99
     Dread Force #0: Devil's Due Publishing - A 99 cent promo issue that's
mainly a profile book with a few pages of scene-setting story, plus a gallery
of inked work.  James Raiz is involved on the art, and the book has giant
robots, so you know I'm gonna at least try it out.  :)  As promos go, it sort
of does the job.  We find out what the Dread Force is and what their mission
is, and a hint at who their boss is, but it's uncertain whether this is a
"machine apocalypse" scenario or an alien invasion.  There's definitely hints
of things like Gundam Turn A and GUNHED in addition to the more obvious
Terminator references.  The robot designs are a bit overwrought, though,
making it hard for any of the Force to stand out in the busy panels.  Mildly
recommended.  99 cents.
     Larry Marder's Beanworld Holiday Special: Dark Horse - Hoka hoka hey!
It has been a LONG time since there was any new Beanworld material on paper,
and that was just a few pages' worth in Image's short-lived anthology series
in the mid 90s.  (Okay, there may have been more that flew under my radar,
especially convention-exclusive stuff, but work with me here.)  Anyway, no
attempt is made to actually shoehorn Christmas or an equivalent into the
story, cover notwithstanding, and that's a Good Thing.  But the idea of
gift-giving and toys is at the core of the story, so it fits thematically.
It's odd seeing a full story in color...I guess I'd never twigged the Boom'r
Band as literally being blues musicians.  And the fact that Dreamish is green
may be some sort of Important Clue.  Or maybe not.  :)  [Later note: Marder
says it is, in fact, a clue.]  Oh, and another pitfall Marder avoids is
trying to explain too much about the setting at once.  A lot of the daily
routine of the beans is laid out, but some things are simply left for readers
to pick up later.  Strongly recommended.  $3.50

Gone Missing:

     Stuff that came out some places this week and that I wanted to buy, but
couldn't find for whatever reason, so people don't have to email me asking
"Why didn't you review X?"  (If it's neither here nor in the section above,
though, feel free to ask, I might have forgotten about it!) 

     Current list as of 12/17: Official Handbook of the Gold Digger Universe
#22, Love & Capes TPB, Transformers Maximum Dinobots #1.  Add Transformers
Return of the Fallen Prequel #1, Doktor Sleepless #10.


"Did Bumper Just Hit Puberty?" Award to Fallen Angel #32

"Wait Until The Beer Goggles Kick In" Award to Cthulhu Tales #9

"Hey, Larroca...Pepper's The One With The Arc Reactor" Award to The 
     Invincible Iron Man #8

"She Not Only Has A Magnificent One, She IS A Magnificent One" Award to
     X-Factor #38

"Catgirls And Tentacles?  NOT A Good Combination" Award to Marvel Adventures
     Avengers #31

"(Continuity) Black Holes and Revelations" Award to Amazing Spider-Man #581

"I Guess He'd Moved His Brain Elsewhere" Award to Avengers the Initiative #19

"For The Last Time, I Do Not HUNGER!" Award to Dread Force #0

"Do The Purple Shoes Mean They're Androgynous?" Award to Larry Marder's 
     Beanworld Holiday Special

     Dave Van Domelen, "Okay, that is officially the STRANGEST thing I've
ever seen." "Wait until the talking ducks show up." - Komodo and Jennifer
Kale (who is wearing the costume Zombie Array was complaining about not
getting to see over in Marvel Zombies 3 #1), Avengers the Initiative #19
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